Political ads, higher ratings boost ABS-CBN Q1 earnings

Posted at 05/13/10 12:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Earnings of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., the country's largest multimedia conglomerate, grew nearly six-fold to P1.09 billion in the first quarter of 2010, boosted mainly by higher airtime revenues from regular advertisers and from candidates vying for various posts in the May 10 polls.

Politically-themed advertisements booked during the period contributed P420 million to the core income. 

In the same period, net income contributed by regular and "recurring" advertisements and consumer sales reached P667 million, a 249% increase from the same period a year ago.

These advertisements, considered as "recurring" since these are unlike election-related advertisements that come in spurts every 3 years, were made on the back of improved TV ratings. Strong national ratings and audience share--key performance indicators in the broadcast industry--boosted revenues from regular advertisers by 45%. In the same period in 2009 and 2008, revenues declined by 3% and was flat, respectively.

Aside from a 23% increase in advertising minutes sold, the higher recurring revenues were also due to the rate adjustments that took effect in August 2009 and February 2010.

Higher revenues

Political advertising revenues of P1.04 billion, together with the P4.02 billion generated from regular advertisers, brought ABS-CBN's total ad revenues to P5.06 billion, a year-on-year growth of 83%.

Advertising revenues accounted for 65% of consolidated revenues, which rose 47% to P7.75 billion.

Consumer sales, which contributed the remaining 35% of total revenues, reached P2.69 billion, representing a relatively slower growth of 7%.

EBITDA for the January to March period of 2010 totaled P2.44 billion, 80% higher year-on-year, and yielding an EBITDA margin of 31%.

ABS-CBN said its total expenses grew by 22% to P5.44 billion, driven mostly by higher production cost and general and administrative expenses.

The conglomerate spent P486 million for capital expenditures in the first 3 months, 24% lower than the P153 million it shelled out a year ago.

Lopez-owned ABS-CBN is the Philippines' largest media firm with interests in radio, free-to-air and cable television, movie production and publishing. It is a unit of Benpres Holdings Corp.

abs-cbnNEWS.com is the online news department of ABS-CBN Interactive Inc., a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp.